Jose Mourinho has opened talks with Manchester United and could soon become their next manager, according to reports.
Mourinho has long been linked with the managerial role at Old Trafford, with the Portuguese a free agent after having been sacked by champions Chelsea in December.
Current United manager Louis van Gaal has faced speculation over his position this season, with the club in fifth, five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.
Mourinho is therefore seen by some as the ideal replacement for the Dutchman, with his rivalry with Pep Guardiola set to be renewed.
The BBC’s Dan Roan and Simon Stone report that United ‘have held talks with representatives’ of Mourinho, with Van Gaal expected to leave in the summer, a year before his current deal expires.
The potential appointment of Mourinho is seen as an apt ‘response’ from United to Manchester City’s announcement that Guardiola, who faced then-Real Madrid manager Mourinho during his time at Barcelona, would take over as head coach at the end of the season.
No agreement has been found and nothing has been signed, say the BBC, who add that only current assistant manager Ryan Giggs ‘is in the frame’ as Van Gaal’s replacement.
The Daily Mail claim an exclusive on the news that Mourinho is ‘closing in on Manchester United deal’, with the Portuguese expected to take over in the summer.
Dominic King also reports that no deal has been signed, but that talks have been held between the two parties, and the reaction from both sides is positive. United ‘see him as the one man who can go head to head with Guardiola when trying to lure new talent to the club,’ reports King.
As mentioned, King does claim an EXCLUSIVE on the story. Which is strange. On Friday morning, Spanish newspaper El Confidencial reported that Mourinho had already signed an agreement to become manager in the summer. In late January, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that ‘discreet’ talks had been held, while the Manchester Evening News even reported on Friday evening that Mourinho had been approached by United.
Exclusive to the newspapers, perhaps?